PPP's newest Florida poll finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by a 50-46 margin in the state. That represents a 3 point improvement for Obama since PPP's last poll of the state, which was conducted the weekend after the Republican convention. It represents the largest lead PPP has found for Obama in Florida since early June.
Mitt Romney's image with Floridians has taken a turn in the wrong direction since his party gathered in Tampa for its convention. His favorability has dropped a net 9 points from +2 at 49/47 over Labor Day weekend to now -7 at 44/51. Romney's comments about the '47%' this week aren't doing him any favors. 89% of voters are familiar with them and 50% consider them to have been inappropriate to 44% who were ok with them. Most troubling for Romney independent voters considered the comments improper by a 58/37 margin and he trails Obama by a 51/40 spread with those folks who could determine the final outcome in the state.
Obama's lead in Florida isn't all about Romney losing ground though. He's pretty strong in his own right with 51% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. That's up a net 7 points from 47/50 before the Democratic convention. This is the first time since April we've found his approval over 50% in the state. Perhaps more importantly Florida voters trust Obama over Romney on the issue of the economy by the same 50/46 margin as the overall numbers- Romney's not getting any traction on that front. And Obama leads 50-45 in terms of who voters have more faith in on foreign policy.
The main shift in the horse race comparing this poll to our last one has come with Democrats. Previously Romney was getting a pretty decent amount of crossover support from them, getting 18% to 79% for Obama. Now whether it's because they're warming up to Obama or getting fed up with Romney or both, Democratic voters are more united around their nominee with 83% planning to support the President to 13% for Romney.
One other important finding in Florida is that contra conventional wisdom for most of the year, Democrats are actually slightly more excited about voting this fall than Republicans are. 72% of Democrats say they're 'very excited' to vote in the election compared to 68% of GOP voters. And the single group most excited about voting is African Americans, 82% of whom say they are very excited.
And one final note- Romney releasing a year of his tax returns on Florida might be a start, but by a 52/39 margin voters in Florida say they'd like to see him release 12 years of his returns before the election.
Florida's still very close and it wouldn't take a huge shift to move it back to 50/50 status but for now Obama looks to be the slight favorite there.
Full results here